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1997-06-16 RTK-001
Railtrack plc

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Railtrack: We will work together with the Rail Regulator pledge


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Railtrack plc



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Railtrack plc

Railtrack: We will work together with the Rail Regulator pledge
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date
16 June 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release



Railtrack has told the Rail Regulator that it will work together "to achieve greater transparency of our plans and outputs" and that it was standing by ready to talk about the way forward.

Chairman of Railtrack, Sir Robert Horton, made the pledge when replying to a recent letter from John Swift, the Rail Regulator, which talked about "strengthening the obligations in Railtrack's licence to make it more accountable to me for delivery of its plans."

Sir Robert said the Railtrack Board welcomed the opportunity to ensure that a proper framework for monitoring delivery against plans was in place.

"I confirm Railtrack's commitment to developing measurable benchmarks and targets which, like you, I believe should focus on the outputs of the network. We will work with you urgently to put appropriate measures in place which meet both our needs," he said.

Changes to Railtrack's licence, however, would lead to "more bureaucracy, second guessing of decisions and a loss of flexibility," said Sir Robert and would also lead to a loss of flexibility in responding to the needs of the train operators and other customers, including Government, PTEs and local authorities.

"My Board believes that it is on track to deliver the better value for money railway which it has promised in its Network Management Statement and which the public expects," wrote Sir Robert.

"We will work with you to achieve greater transparency of our plans and outputs and we stand ready to talk to you about the way forward," said Sir Robert, who added that the Railtrack Board welcomed the opportunity to ensure that a proper framework for monitoring delivery against plans was in place.

Referring to the Rail Regulator's comments on the "adverse consequences of the relatively short franchises awarded to many train operators", Sir Robert said Railtrack recognised the point but believed the solution was not for the Rail Regulator to take over the role of Railtrack's customers in determining what investment they want.

"Rather the Government should address the issues head on and extend the length of franchises, so that train operators and Railtrack are better able to commit to long term investment in the railway," added Sir Robert.

Railtrack's mainstream investment in the railway infrastructure, was on course to exceed the expenditure of £3.5 billion up to 2001 which the Rail Regulator had assumed in setting the access charges.

Currently £100 million ahead of target, the figure was expected to be £1 billion over and above the original target. In addition, the accruals, presently around £270 million and inherited from Railtrack's spell in the public sector when its spending was restricted, would be overtaken.

Referring to the Station Regeneration Programme, Sir Robert said it would be "wholly unrealistic" to complete the work, involving over 2000 stations and depots, more quickly.

"Very little had been spent on station maintenance over the previous 20 years and the start-up arrangements took longer to put into place than we would have wished," he said. "However, the Station Regeneration Programme is now well under way and our completion date of 2001 remains and we will spend a total of £1 billion."


Railhub Archive ::: 1997-06-16 RTK-001





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